We see plenty of depictions of sociopaths in fiction, but they tend to be fairly two-dimensional characters and often play the villains. To make matters worse, they are often just lumped together with psychopaths, and made out to be soulless characters who feel nothing and only speak the language of violence. The problem with this is that, although sociopaths are unable to feel empathy, some respectable members of society in positions of power, including lawyers and politicians, exhibit sociopathic traits.

These people can hide in plain sight, under a mask of normal emotions, and can even be productive members of society – just a part of them are actually violent or have criminal tendencies. It can be difficult to discover a sociopath’s true face, but some of the signs of a sociopath include reckless behavior, a disdain for rules and social norms, and self-centeredness. Here are some things you need to know if you are in love with someone who is a hidden sociopath.

1. They are intelligent and logical (a little bit too logical)

Dating a sociopath is a little bit like dating Mr. Spock – sure, he’s got all the answers when it comes to science and can be a valuable asset in a crisis, but he won’t quite understand all these human emotions that keep brewing inside you. While having a partner who can keep their cool in heated situations and always look for a rational solution may seem like a good deal at first, there will be situations where you’ll just want your partner to let go and share in your excitement or sadness.

2. They don’t really get anxious or afraid

Now, don’t get me wrong, sociopaths have a strong survival instinct and they can experience fear just like the rest of the world – it’s just that they don’t stress about things that they can’t control. They do, however, try to take as much control of a situation as they can. If tragedy strikes or there is a financial crisis, don’t expect them to break down in tears.

3. They are charming, well-spoken, and interesting

It’s tough to spot a sociopath as they do a great job of hiding in plain sight. They have a great deal of charm and can be quite eloquent, with plenty of interesting stories and a number of interests that just make them seem like an average extrovert. Sociopaths tend to be incredibly socially active.

4. They will often take risks

Since sociopaths don’t really care about the repercussions, nor do they have a pronounced fear of failure like a lot of other people do, you’ll often see them making questionable decisions. However, they are not rash and impulsive – each decision they make is carefully calculated – it’s just that they prefer high-risk, high-reward options to the slower and safer low-reward ones.

5. They don’t enjoy the same activities that everyone else does

Gazing out into the distance at the sunset or lying on the grass and watching the star-studded sky are things that most lovers will enjoy doing together. These are the traditional romantic activities that you simply can’t go wrong with. However, for the empathetically challenged, these things can be incredibly boring.

Sociopaths enjoy activities that provide them with an adrenaline rush, something that feels a bit dangerous and engages both the body and the mind. Instead of planning a picnic, you may have to organize a hunting trip or take them paragliding. The thrill of the hunt, the wind rushing pass them – these are the things that stimulate them. In fact, it’s their love of excitement that makes sociopaths so appealing.

6. They feel comfortable lying to you about important issues

You may think that a relationship has to be built on trust, and rightfully so. There are tons of little things that you share with your partner on a daily basis, and big issues need to be laid out and discussed openly. However, a sociopath’s natural instinct is to try and tell a version of the story that pleases others, inspires respect and trust from those around them, and ultimately helps them to get what they want.

They don’t try to put themselves in another person’s shoes, tell it like it is, or do the right thing – sociopaths look past morality and see an intricate web of events, bound by cause and effect, which can be manipulated to serve a higher purpose.

7. They don’t feel bad about the emotional pain their actions cause

Apart from a few select people close to them, sociopaths don’t really care about hurting or manipulating others to achieve their own goals. While a romantic partner may be exempt from this cold-hearted and calculated behavior, acquaintances, friends of friends, and co-workers will often be left emotionally scarred, used as stepping stones by an ambitious sociopath trying to improve their own social status. It can be difficult for a person who loves a sociopath to come to terms with such seemingly ruthless behavior.

8. They are very good at reading and faking emotions

Most people find it hard to read sociopaths, as they train their whole lives to become good actors. As far as they are concerned, they could go through life with a straight face, making sarcastic comments or just not caring, but they know that it’s not socially acceptable. If you want to get anywhere in life, you have to blend in with the crowd. So, sociopaths do their research and try to take on a personality that people around them find agreeable and trustworthy.

This is why people who love sociopaths have a hard time accepting them for who they really are, and are confused when they see their partner’s true face. However, when sociopaths reveal their true colors to someone, it is the ultimate gesture of trust and respect – if they take a huge risk by letting you past their shield, it means that they feel that the price of your companionship is well worth it.

9. They can actually love someone, but not the way most people do

People will tell you this and that about sociopaths, and they are usually painted in a negative light. However, you’ll find that emotions have a sliding scale – just because someone doesn’t exhibit the same amount of emotion in the same way, doesn’t mean that they don’t care about anyone. I always like to use the example of the infamous mafia hitman Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinski, who was reportedly a paranoid sociopath and an extremely violent man with a few other interesting psychological issues thrown into the mix, but the way the man talks about his wife and children is truly endearing.

Is it love in the sense that most people understand? Probably not, but a sociopath can have a strong connection with another person – it’s just difficult to tell when there’s truly something in the depths of their logical little hearts when they are so comfortable with lying and faking emotion all the time.

10. They can be very self-centered and incapable of admitting mistakes

It’s not so much that sociopaths won’t admit mistakes, it’s more about them not even realizing why something should be considered wrong or bad. It is perfectly natural for a sociopath to engage in Machiavellian tactics in order to get ahead. They won’t exactly push anyone under a car, but they might give someone bad advice, use misinformation, blackmail, and manipulate people to get what they want. If you point out that these things aren’t moral, or even confront them about being disrespectful and hurtful towards others, don’t expect them to show remorse.

I hope that you can see that sociopaths are not all violent criminals, nor are they closer to a race of emotionless aliens than to other humans – they are just people who happen to be different. The way they feel, think, and live is a bit unusual to a lot of people, but that doesn’t make them monsters. It’s important to remember all the points mentioned above if you truly have strong feelings for someone who is a sociopath, as it can be incredibly difficult to get close to someone if you aren’t ready to see their true self.